Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma: SA's iron lady

2012-07-16 12:03
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. (Simon Maina, AFP)

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. (Simon Maina, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

Dlamini-Zuma to lead AU

2012-07-16 12:09

Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was elected as commission head of the African Union. Dlamini-Zuma is the first woman to hold the post, beating the incumbent, Jean Ping of Gabon, in a closely-fought election vote in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. WATCH

Johannesburg - Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, a veteran of the fight against apartheid who has served in the cabinet of every South African president since Nelson Mandela, now takes the top African Union job.

Elected by the 54-member pan-African bloc in Ethiopia on Sunday, she becomes the first woman to head the AU Commission.

An experienced diplomat, Dlamini-Zuma, 63, is known for her competent management and stern personality.

A doctor by training, she was health minister when Mandela became the country's first black leader.

'Quiet diplomacy'


She went on to be foreign minister for a decade, earning praise for her shuttle diplomacy to end the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But her critics found fault with her "quiet diplomacy" towards neighbour Zimbabwe, during a crisis that saw President Robert Mugabe evict thousands of white farmers from their land in 2000.

Her former husband President Jacob Zuma then named her home affairs minister.

Although that was seen as a demotion, she won plaudits for turning around a ministry mired in gross mismanagement to achieve the first clean audit in 16 years.

In her campaign to win the pan-African bloc's top job, she vowed to work at making it "a more efficient and effective organisation".

And while she may have defeated the incumbent, French-speaker Jean Ping of Gabon, she has refused to be labelled as an English-speaking candidate.

"I am not Anglophone, I'm Zulu," she said.

Once she got to work in the post, she added, she would be "implementing programmes... agreed upon by everybody" rather than "consulting the Anglophone and the Francophone".

Dlamini-Zuma has the backing of the predominantly English-speaking southern African region and is the first person from the region to hold the top Commission job since the AU was created a decade ago.

Unsmiling demeanour


"She takes her work very seriously," said Prince Mashele, an analyst at the Centre for Politics and Research, who worked with Dlamini-Zuma's ministry when she was foreign minister.

"She has the rare quality of putting up very good administrators," Mashele added.

But she has raised eyebrows with her unsmiling demeanour.

"I thought she could do better if she was a little more affable," said Mashele.

Born 27 January 1949 in KwaZulu-Natal, Dlamini-Zuma took up politics in high school.

In the 1970s she went into exile, and studied in Britain at the universities of Bristol and Liverpool, while helping organise the anti-apartheid movement overseas.

She met Zuma while working as a paediatrician at a Swaziland hospital and became the polygamist president's third wife in 1982. They divorced in 1998.

When the ban on the African National Congress was lifted in 1990, she returned home.

Astute politician


After the first democratic elections she was tapped by Mandela to transform the country's segregated health system.

She is remembered for introducing legislation that overhauled the highly unequal system and gave the poor access to free basic care.

But she was also criticised for championing a controversial HIV drug that was later proved to be ineffective.

When Zuma fell out with ex-president Thabo Mbeki and moved to oust him as ANC leader in 2007, she stood as Mbeki's running mate for the ANC presidency.

But when Zuma won party polls and later become president, he kept his ex-wife in his cabinet - a rare Mbeki ally to avoid the axe.

"She is an astute politician, a veteran, the experience she acquired as foreign minister puts her in good stead to take over this role" at the AU, said Keith Gottschalk of the University of the Western Cape.

Read more on:    au  |  anc  |  nkosazana dlamini-zuma  |  politics
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
22 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Health
 

Tips on how to set your fitness goals

Before you embark on a fitness or training programme, set yourself clear and realistic long-term and short-term goals.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

This all-terrain vehicle is badass!
The TRUTH about painkillers and exercise
WIN! Where were you when you last felt alive?
Watch: Fishing under ice

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on electronics!

Get mind blowing savings on top electronic products. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be spending too much time organising and trying to control things to make sure everything is perfect instead of just...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.